Monday, August 15, 2005


"Brazil" is one of the best movies ever made. Ever. Twenty years after its release, the film holds lessons for today's weird world.

Terry Gilliam, the director of "Brazil," hasn't had a new movie for seven years, since "Fear and Loathing" queased the movie-going public. The drought ends with two Gilliam films -- the mainstream "The Brothers Grimm," starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, and "Tideland," a smaller effort that sounds tremendously warped. As The New York Times puts it:

"Tideland" combines elements of "Psycho," "Lolita," "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and Faulkner's "Rose for Emily" to tell the story of a little girl who takes refuge from her dope-addict father in a world of imaginary companions, and who has a sexual relationship of sorts with an older retarded man.

In other words, a comedy.

The NYT Sunday piece on Gilliam delves into his fights with studio bosses. Gilliam despises Hollywood, and he isn't afraid to say so:

"It's an abominable place," he said over lunch recently in London, where he lives with his wife and three children. "If there was an Old Testamental God, he would do his job and wipe the place out. The only bad thing is that some really good restaurants would go up as well."

Chortling and warming to the theme, he added: "Hollywood dominates the world so much it's scary. And it's just a village with a few people. It's very small and very provincial." He threw in some obscene imagery for good measure. "And there's always this accepted knowledge: 'Oh, we can't make a movie with him, because his last movie tanked.' There's no long-term plan or view - nothing." He sighed, then added: "But I need their money."

Just call Gilliam a compulsive heating engineer, a maverick ex-Central Service repair man with a grudge against society.

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